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MACup - may 1995; page 32-34 ISSN 0935-6282 MACup Verlag GmbH +49 40 3910901 Original author : Volker Riebartsch Translation : Ernst J. Oud firstname.lastname@example.org (C) MACup Verlag GmbH The copyright for this lies fully with MACup Verlag GmbH. Translating it recognizes this copyright. Before using this review for commercial purposes please contact MACup. Some general background: MACup is the leading German magazine for the Mac community. Germany is hard to penetrate for non-German magazines. Even magazines like MacWorld are translated (MacWelt). The monthly magazine has a print run of some 77.054 copies. It is available in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and The Netherlands. Unfortunately, MACup is not online on the Internet (yet). The May issue carried a lot of news on developments from Apple planned for 1995, a.o. the new Performa's 5200 and 6200. The review of Executor/DOS was amidst a large theme on 'Apple '95' --------------------------------------------------------------------------- [On the cover a large banner just below the MACup logo:] 'For 99 dollar: Mac now on Intel' [On page 32 the review starts:] [Picture of Sharp colour notebook with caption:] The MacOS on Sharp's 'PC-8660' colour notebook. Thanks to 'Executor', Mac programs can be started and used without any problems on the Intel 486 PC. Executor emulates System 6.0.7 and offers upto 256 colours. [Headline:] MacOS inside To get the MacOS on a DOS PC, is the declared goal of the computer giants when they talk about clones. A small firm from New Mexico acted faster; they offer this summer for $99 a Mac emulator that could shake the market. [Body text:] When in the decision making units of the large computer companies the talks on licensing Apple's operating system by third parties and ports of the MacOS to Intel and other processors, still continue, a small firm from Albuquergue, New Mexico, this summer will shake the Intel market with their program 'Executor DOS 2.0'. Mac-look-and-feel-on-Intel. The developers from the firm Ardi (Abacus Research and Development Incorporated) around founder Clifford T. Matthews have succeeded the walk on the sharp edge that is required to port the MacOS on other platforms without hurting Apple's copyright claims and without going into battle with the legal departments. Executor after it starts offers us in the test version 1.99k the normal Mac desktop background; typical Finder elements like Trash, harddisk or floppy-disk icons are not to be seen however. The functionality, that Finder has on a Mac, is implemented by the integrated 'File-browser'. Clifford Matthews stresses, that the from Ardi developed 'File-browser' offers significant differences with its Apple brother and offers its own user interface. Because the programs started under Executor maintain their user interface, this is also not necessary. Development since 1986. Already in September 1986 Matthews started work on 'ROMlib'; an implementation of the Mac-plus operating system and the Toolbox. Ofcourse beta-testers wanted to know immediately whether ROMlib was capable of porting large applications like Word and making them usable. That is why they developed a program for internal use that could load and run those programs from memory on a SUN 3/60 machine with a Motorola 68020 processor. When the program called for a MacOS or Toolbox function, a ROMlib routine would be called - Executor was born. The next step. When the Ardi developers had made Word functional, they had made a version for the, also with a Motorola processor equipped, Next computer that could run Word under Next-Step. With the death of the Next platform Ardi was forced to port to other processor types. They choose for the Intel 80x86 family. The main work for this port is done by the 'Synthetic-CPU Guru' Mat Hostetter. In October last year, almost unnoticed, Ardi showed Executor 1.0 - the first version. According to Matthews they only distributed a couple of hundred copies, to people that somehow heard from Executor. That first version only ran in black-and-white and needed improvement to turn it into a marketable product. System 6.0.7 in colour on a PC. When Executor 2.0 hits the streets coming summer, it will be able - as in our testversion - to emulate in colour the Mac operating system version 6.0.7 on an Intel PC. Already now more than 100 programs can be run and used like on a Mac, when you only copy them from a Mac to Executor on the PC. Version 2.0 will run all programs that do not require System 7.x. A far away target for version 3.0 is to run System 7.x on top of Executor, using Executor as the engine. The operating system then has to be obtained from the dealer. Already the tests done with version 1.99k - indicated as experimental - where more than amazing. Installing on DOS. Installing Executor is done from DOS. Required is a 386 PC with 2 Mb. memory. For our test we used besides some desktop PC's, a brand new Sharp Notebook PC-8660 with a i486DX2 SL enhanced microprocessor running at 50 MHz. Next to a VGA subsystem this notebook offers a 32-bit VESA local bus and shows its data and programs on a 9.4" active-matrix colourscreen with 256 colours. Executor is installed in a directory and is started, in the DOS way, by the command 'Executor'. From this moment onwards it continues like a Mac. The general Start-Info box already shows the well-known windows format and mouse cursor of a Mac. After the obligatory 'OK' the normal Mac deskop background is shown. Instead of the normal harddisk or floppy symbols, Executor shows the already mentioned File-browser from which the Mac programs need to be started. The shown File-browser will be improved in version 2.0 according to Ardi. [four screenshots from the Sharp notebook; showing the familiar sign-on screen of Executor 1.99k with the serial no. of Volker Riebartsch, the shift-Alt-1 screen, the open-file-dialog and a screenshot from Excel] [Caption beneath the four screenshots:] 'Executor' on DOS: After starting the program from DOS the user finds himself in the Mac environment with dialog boxes and mouse cursor. Instead of the Finder, Executor offers the 'File-browser' a navigation instrument to start programs. Is a Mac program started, here Excel 4.0, then Executor offers the Macintosh look-and-feel. Program start by double-click. Programs can be started, as on a Mac, by double-clicking them from the file-browser. Thereafter working with the PC and Executor, work cannot be differentiated with working on a Mac; all program functionality with their menus and dialog boxes is maintained. Besides a number of games we had programs like Word 5.1 and Excel 4.0 perform heavy functions. Without any problems they did their job. The generated data was easily saved and even printed. Mac harddisks, CD's and floppy's on a PC. Until the finishing of their own finder substitute, copying of data, erasing and creating new folders, has to be done with the supplied program 'HFS_XFer'. After selecting the wanted function from the dialog box, the program erases or copies data without problems. Executor is capable to read and write Mac floppy's and harddisks and can also read Mac CD-ROM's. This way the program can also be used to copy data between a Mac and a PC. External media and PC harddisks show up in the file-browser and data can be copied between them. When one needs more storage on the PC harddisk for Mac applications, one can create more volumes from DOS - only limited by the capacity of the PC's harddisk. The Mac programs do not need any modification; they can be started from an Executor volume or direct from a Macintosh harddisk, CD-ROM or floppy. Synthetic 68LC040 CPU. The heart of Executor is the synthetic 68LC040 CPU. Although System 6.0.7 has no MultiFinder functionality, this will be implemented in the coming version (see interview below). Besides having no Finder, also Inits, Extensions and Control Panels are not implemented. The 1.99k version however can regarding its stability compete with beta-versions of other products. A 1.99k demo version, that enables usage for around thirty minutes, is already available, registering the shareware version costs 99 dollar. It is planned to get registered users the upgrade to the full version 2.0 for around 50 dollar. The future. Besides the here reviewed version for Intel PC's running DOS/Windows, Ardi offers Executor for Intel PC's running NextStep and Linux. The DOS version can be configured for OS/2 2.1.1 and it should also run under Windows NT in the future. When version 3.0 is shown and when System 7.x can be installed, no PC producer can go without bundling this software. Also operating system companies like Microsoft and IBM should take a look. Conclusion. Executor is fun. Especially using the colour screen on the Sharp after a short while one has the feeling sitting behind a PowerBook 540c. That in this development state one can already run such complex programs like Word and Excel and that complex programmed games like Lemmings run, is slick, touching and fascinating. (vr) > ARDI, Fax: (001) 505/247 1899, e-mail: email@example.com [Between the above review and the interview below a picture showing the creators of Executor wearing wild-west outfit and holding guns. The caption reads: 'The Executor team: Cliff Matthews (Ardi Founder), Bill Goldman (Developer of HFS_XFer and File-browser), Mat Hoststetter (synthetic CPU Guru) and Vaune Fischer (technical support). Not in the picture: Cotton Seed; developer of the 32-bit color quickdraw code]
[Headline] No fear of Apple. MACup had the opportunity on Cebit to talk to Ardi Founder Clifford T. Matthews about Executor. MACup: Since when do you work on Executor, how large is the development team? Matthews: I have started work in 1986, then under the name of ROMlib. Now we have seven employees and some free-lancers. MACup: How do you see the potential customers of Executor? Matthews: Based on the various uses of the program it is positioned for users and companies that have a mixed network environment. MACup: When will version 2.0 be ready? Matthews: First we must market the final version; we hope that will be in summer. The software will be finished in time but finishing the packaging could slow delivery a bit. Our goal for Version 3.0 is the possibility to load System 7 on top of Executor, enabling a full Mac environment on the PC. The end-user should then buy the operating system from Apple. We will already offer some init and cdev functionality in version 2.0, so that using Executor is made easier. MACup: Are you afraid of Apple's legal department? Matthews: Not a bit. Every step in development since work started in 1986 has been documented, never did we disassemble Apple's ROM or system routines. A patent lawyer has advised us from the beginning. Also we do not copy the look-and-feel of the finder, since we do not offer one, except the file-browser. The user interface of all Mac pograms is identical. When Apple would have wanted that programs should nof offer their look-and-feel they should have told the developers. Ardi and Apple should be better of as partners, not as competitors. With a little cooperation we could achieve a lot. MACup: Thank you very much for this conversation. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------© 1995 MACup GmbH